Most of the focus on this Saturday night’s CES MMA event in Providence, RI has been placed on the giant shoulders of former WWE superstar Dave Bautista. The 6’6”, 290lb. monster will face Vince Lucero in his MMA debut as the duo will meet in the main event.
CES has signed a few former UFC fighters who will be competing on Saturday night and one of them is John “Doomsday” Howard. After winning his first four UFC fights he subsequently lost his next three bouts. We last saw him losing via unanimous decision to Matt Brown last June at UFC Live: Kongo vs. Berry.
“I’ve had three fights since I was released by the
UFC,” Howard told BJPenn.Com. “In October of last year I beat Dennis Olson for CFA down in Miami, after that I signed with CES and had my first fight for them this past April. I beat Todd Chattelle by 2nd round TKO to capture the CES middleweight title and defended it against Scott Rehm in August.”
After fighting as a welterweight his entire UFC tenure, Howard has moved up to 185lbs., but doesn’t foresee himself staying there permanently.
“If I ever go back to the UFC I’ll drop back down to the welterweight division,” said Howard. “The reason I am fighting at middleweight now is because I can get away with it due to my experience level. Don’t get me wrong if the UFC wanted me to fight at 185 I would have no problem doing it, but 170 is where I belong. I feel stronger at 185, but I’m shorter than most of the guys who fight in this weight class.”
Howard will face 25-year-old, Georgia native Brett Chism in the co-main event on Saturday night. Chism’s biggest fight up until now came against current UFC light heavyweight Phil Davis back in October of 2008 which Davis won via unanimous decision. Howard expects Chism to apply the pressure and that is something he is looking forward to.
“I’ve watched some of his videos and he’s a decent fighter, he doesn’t do anything great,” Howard assessed. “He has good striking and he likes to throw bombs. He has seven knockouts and he comes to brawl, but I plan on taking my time and using my experience to my advantage. I respect him and he definitely brings it every time he steps inside the cage.”
CES is making a huge splash bringing in Batista, but Howard says the former wrestler isn’t the only one getting the star treatment from the organization. The moment he signed his contract he felt right at home and sees big things for the promotion.
“CES has been awesome, they treat me like a champion, it’s been great,” said the Boston, MA native. “They are a very professional organization and with Dave Bautista signing with the promotion, it should show you they know how to treat their fighters. They have been nothing but good to me since the day I put ink to paper.”
Speaking of Bautista the former six-time WWE Champion has brought a lot of attention to the CES family. At 43-years-old no one is expecting “The Animal” to come in an repeat what Brock Lesnar did, but if he can help the promotion grow he will certainly have been worth the money the organization is paying him. Howard has been extremely impressed with how humble and hungry Batista is.
“I heard an interview in which he said he was interested in watching my fight and I got pumped up after listening to that,” Howard admitted. “I think he’s going to prove a lot of people wrong and walk away with a big victory. If this card goes well and I pray that it does it’s going to mean a lot to all of the fighters who are on it. I can’t wait, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime. I’ve been on PPV before as well as IPPV, but this is going to be a good experience and a lot of fun.”
With three wins in a row and a fourth staring him in the face, Howard realizes he could get another opportunity in the UFC at anytime. That is the ultimate goal, but he’d rather take his time and make his return a permanent one.
“The UFC told me to go out and get some wins, I have to wait for the phone call, I can’t call them,” said Howard. “I signed a contract with CES and right now I’m not in a rush to go back. I’m only 29-years-old and I don’t want to go there and get kicked out a second time. I can’t have that right now, the best thing for me to do is to be humble and improve my skills. I want to continue to build a solid foundation and when the time is right I’ll be back in the UFC. I have a few more fights left on my current contract and after I finish those fights I’ll take a look at all of my options.”
Howard and fellow UFC veteran Anthony Johnson were scheduled to fight at one point, but for some reason or another the fight never went down. What followed afterwards was a war of words and threats of physical violence outside of the Octagon.
“Johnson really made s**t personal, what he had to say was unnecessary,” Howard stated. “The beef all started because the UFC wanted me to fight him in my second fight for the promotion. At the time he was dominating and I wanted to get some more wins under my belt. He called me out and said I was a bitch, but what really made it personal was when he called me a derogatory word which I will not repeat.”
“There were a few times when things almost got physical, it got real crazy, we couldn’t be in the same room together. Then we were signed to fight, but he pulled out because he said he was injured. After we were both cut we were going to fight, but he’s had issues with his weight. I doubt we’ll ever fight because we are in different weight classes, I said I’d do it at 185, but he can’t make the weight. The beef is real, but I like to get paid to fight. If we’re not going to get paid we can always do it Kimbo Slice style!”
“Real Pain” is just around corner and it promises to offer MMA fans a little bit of everything. As far as Howard is concerned it will give him a chance to defend his title and put on a show in front of a packed arena as well as fans watching at home. To say he’s excited and grateful is putting it mildly.
“Brett and I are in the co-main event and the fans can expect to see a good fight,” offered the seven-fight UFC veteran. “Brett is a good striker and I love facing good strikers. It allows me to put on a great show for the fans. I always bring the pain and I plan on putting on an amazing performance. The whole event is going to incredible, this is a legit, big time card. If you miss it you are going to miss one of the best cards of the year, even better than some UFC events.”
Howard is on Twitter: @JohnDoomsday and he loves to interact with the fans.
Tags: Anthony Johnson, brett chism, CES MMA, CES MMA: Real Pain, Dave Bautista, featured, John Howard, Matt brown